MISSSEY Working with Social Services Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
Despite a recent nationwide prostitution sweep led by the FBI, the commercial sexual exploitation of children continues to be a concern in Oakland. A recent news report cites Oakland as a city of concern due to the number of group homes in the city; however Nola Brantley, co-founder and executive director of MISSSEY, a local organization that works with victims of commercial sexual exploitation, explains that there has been a reduction in the number of group homes over the past several years.
MISSSEY has a contract with the Alameda County Social Services Agency, which funds two full time advocates who provide intervention for sex trafficked children, preventive work with children in the foster care system, and training for social service workers. MISSSEY’s office is located in Downtown Oakland, Calif., a city considered a hub for prostitution and human trafficking.
KQED news reports, “One reason experts cite Oakland is its relatively large number of group homes for a city of its size.” According to the California Community Care Licensing Department, currently there are 16 licensed group homes in Oakland. Of the 16 licenses, one is provisional and a second one is a probationary one. Brantley explains that there has been a reduction of more than 50% in the number of group homes in the area. “The county as a whole had a big push out of group homes into getting [children] into more permanent placements, even if it meant foster care with the grandmother or another appropriate [extended] relative and there was a big push actually away from group homes.” According to Brantley children in foster care in general are more likely to be victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
According to a press release from the San Francisco Division of the FBI in the Bay Area 12 children were rescued and 17 pimps were arrested during a national prostitution sweep. In Oakland two juveniles were rescued, and two pimps were arrested. Nationwide 150 arrests were made and 105 children were rescued. Of the two rescued children Brantley confirms that one of them was arrested and taken to juvenile hall.
MISSSEY’s services extend countywide. Donations can be made by visiting their website at www.misssey.org.